Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tiny Talk Tuesday

  • "You guys are GREAT!" ~ James casually mentioned this to my husband and I the other day. :)
  • "Oh look at that one, it's gorgeous!" ~ regarding a particularly lovely bubble he created.
  • "Tiger, are you feeling sick? Ok, I'll get you some milk to make you feel better." ~ James taking good care of his little stuffed animal.
  • "Mommy, I have a question for you... (fill in any kind of cute questions here)." ~ Ever curious and eager to learn, James comes up to me and says this several times a day. His questions range from 'What do ants sound like?' to 'Why do tickles make us laugh?'. Very good questions - I just wish I knew the answers!!
  • He's also taken to making up all sorts of songs regarding his favorite things - our cats, the moon, popsicles, and his cousin, Tia. It's SO cute and I just melt whenever I see him tapping his foot and singin' a tune. :)

UPDATE: Oops! I made a mistake - we're partaking in Tiny Talk Tuesday over at Not Before 7 (not Monkey See Monkey Do as I originally posted - but go and check out Terra's blog anyway! She's one amazing mommy!!).

~Thank you for your comments!~

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Muffin Tin Meal - Yellow

After putting together our yellow sensory tub, I decided to make a yellow themed muffin tin meal for James. He loved it! Muffin tin meals are so much fun to eat out of (and to prepare! - the individual cups really appeal to my OCD tendencies organized nature)! :D

Here's what in it:
::Baby corn
::Kix cereal
::Pepper sticks
::Scrambled eggs
:: A cup of lemonade

Here are some more yellow food ideas:

::Corn kernals or cobs
::Macaroni and Cheese
::Summer squash
::Yellow wax beans
::Lemon flavored yogurt
::Rice mixed with saffron or turmeric

~Thank you for your comments!~

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Counting Coconuts is (finally!) on Facebook!

Ok, after some persuading I've taken the plunge. I've created a Facebook page for Counting Coconuts. Thank you for suggesting I do this, it'll be a fun way to share my ideas outside the blog world!

Not sure when or if I'll have time to update it all that often, but I'll do my best. I have a few links and albums posted already, so check my left sidebar and please (pretty pretty please) join me on Facebook. :)

I do want to apologize to those of you who have asked me to create a Twitter account - I just can't on account of the fact that I am avoiding Twitter like the plague.

~Thank you for your comments!~

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sensory Tub - Yellow

Surprise! It's another sensory tub! Actually, it's probably not much of a surprise since I did mention in a previous post that I was going to make two tubs for August. But, if I'm honest, this isn't that 2nd "outdoor" tub - I never got around to making it (note to self: don't blog about doing something until you've done it!). This one is just as fun though - take a look!

I was inspired when Maggie, from Redtedart, very sweetly reached out to me about her upcoming "Get Crafty: Yellow" blog carnival. Be sure to check it out for some crafty ideas!

Tia (my niece) and I had so much fun putting this together. There are LOTS of goodies in this tub, and really too many to list in full, but here's a sample of what's inside:
:: Star shaped pasta (we dyed only some of it yellow to give it that mottled look)
:: Various types of pom poms
:: Buttons
:: A bean bag
:: Google eyes
:: Beads
:: Mini erasers
:: A wooden egg
:: A Rubber ducky
:: Number beads
:: Popsicle sticks
:: 2 cups for scooping or sorting
:: A strawberry huller for picking out objects

I've added a little twist to this tub. I photographed some of the objects and created a "bingo" card. The idea is that James will use the photos on the card to hunt for and find the corresponding object. Sort of an I Spy kind of thing. Instead of a bingo card, another idea I had (but didn't end up implementing) was to create individual cards for each object, laminate them and then put them together on a ring.

James used his magnifying glass (his most favorite thing at the moment) to investigate the tub. :)

My very creative niece, Tia, is here visiting us and she has been brainstorming with me about some new sensory tub ideas. Oh my goodness did we come up with some good ones - I can't wait to share them with all of you!

I'm linking this post up to Montessori Monday, Tot Tuesday and The Preschool Corner.

~Thank you for your comments!~

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

For the Love of Oranges

There's nothing better than a bright, juicy orange, don't you think? The stores are full of them at the moment and so I thought we'd have a little fun...
A great practical life activity: Squeezing Oranges
James LOVED this work and put some serious effort into squeezing the juice out of the oranges. When he finished he drank a cup full of juice, smiling in between sips. :)

Notice the cute apron he's wearing? It was lovingly made for James by his Aunt Beth. I found the fabric at Joann's in April and knew it would make a fun Practical Life apron. Beth is a wonderful seamstress and when I asked her if she'd make the apron (I don't own a sewing machine), she very sweetly agreed.
And, because she has a heart of gold, she made a matching apron for me, too. Look at these - aren't they adorable?! She even embroidered them to read, "Chef James" and "Chef Mom". And...

the pockets read, "Happiness is Homemade". I about cried when I saw that. It could be my motto!

Frozen Orange Cups
My niece and I made some frozen orange cups. Yummy! And so quick and easy, too!

First we squeezed the juice out of the oranges, then we poured the juice back into the cups and popped them into the freezer. I'd recommend eating them when the get to the "slushy" stage. They're a bit difficult to eat when they're completely frozen.

Perfect for a hot summer day!

As James enjoyed his frozen treat, I read this book to him:

The Sun Egg, by Elsa Beskow. A sweet story about a little elf who comes across a giant orb in the forest and thinks the sky has dropped one of its eggs. She finds out it's an orange - or a "sun egg", as it is called by the other forest creatures. I love Beskow's books, although I'll say there are a few words that appear from time to time (e.g. stupid) that I do not love. I simply change the words while reading aloud to James.

~Thank you for your comments!~

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Tree Blocks

As I mentioned in this post, I'm getting a jump start on Christmas gift-making. Like last year, I'm planning on making most of James' gifts. We decided a while back to cut back on the amount of plastic we have in the house, specifically in James' playroom, and to invite more natural and homemade toys into our home instead. So far so good!

Recently, Paul and I made some tree blocks for one of James' Christmas gifts. I saw these at this online store last fall and knew I wanted to make a set of our own.Finding the materials proved surprisingly difficult. It was really important to me to find wood from a felled tree, but since there aren't any real forests here and since Bermudians keep the island impeccably clean, I had to wait and hope something would magically appear!

Imagine my surprise when while driving along I saw a pile of branches on the side of the road! I pulled over and once I found out they were on their way to the dump, I wasted no time in selecting a 6 foot branch for our blocks. I had to break off the attached smaller branches and I think I gave the tourists (waiting at a nearby bus stop) quite a laugh. Me, in my flip flops, stomping and wrestling with this big branch and then trying to stuff it into my very tiny car. :)

The thing I love most about these blocks is that Paul and I made them together for James. Paul sawed them into sections and I sanded down the rough edges.

Once they were all sanded and ready to go, the child in me took over and I began stacking and creating towers and castles. What fun!

I made a drawstring pouch to store them in. The pattern is of a cute and colorful forest. :)

I hope James likes them as much as we do!

~I'm linking this up to Creative Friday, Sharing Time, We Play and Tot Tuesday.~

~Thank you for your comments!~

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Beach Themed Activities

Here are a few beach theme activities for our shelves...

Practical Life

Pouring sand
James has perfected his pouring skills, so I'm not sure how much longer I'll be preparing this kind of work. I'll put it out for as long as he has the interest and so he has the option.

Umbrella pushing
Similar to our flag pushing activity. These are those little drink umbrellas you can just about anywhere. James loved them!

Tweezing flowers
We did this a few months ago and James really enjoyed it, so I put it out again.


Sorting sea glass
This was the first activity James chose. I think it's because it looks so pretty and natural. Dr. Montessori believed children were naturally drawn to real and organic items.

Beach sensory tub
Click here to read more about it and our sandy playdough.

Sorting beach shapesI found these at the pet store in the fish section. :) I was surprised to observe that James had a hard time differentiating some of the shapes. I wonder if he was distracted by the colors?


We read a few beach themed books and these are the two I'd recommend...

Swimmy, by Leo Lionni. A sweet, yet simple story with some really cool illustrations.

On The Seashore, by Anna Milbourne. I generally like all of the books by this author. This one tells the story of a cute little hermit crab who travels a tide pool looking for a new home.

We are blessed to live so close to tons of amazing beaches, so of course we spend a lot of our time there.How is this a language activity? Well, after printing out the photo I asked James a bunch of questions about it. It was such a great way to get him to think about what he was seeing, to use his vocabulary and to learn new words, too. Here's a sample of the questions I asked:

:: What is Daddy doing with his hands?
:: What kinds of activities can you do at the beach?
:: Why is James wearing a hat?
:: Can you find anyone else in this picture?


I found the clip art on abcteach.com. Our color printer was down at the time, so I colored the images in myself. (I LOVE coloring!) :) I cut out the images, laminated them and then took photos of them in various combinations. James can use the photo strips to copy the sequences.

Counting coconutsIt's about time I got around to creating an activity in honor of my lil blog! I cut these shapes out of felt. The idea here is that James will shake a (homemade) die and add that number of coconuts to the tree. He'll then shake the other die and add that number to the tree too and then count the sum total. It's a fun introduction to addition. I used small, wooden blocks and a black marker to create the dice. Note to self: buy a wood burning tool.

Quantifying with shellsI made some number cards and gathered 55 shells to use as counters.

Measuring palm fronds
After collecting a few fronds from our yard, I cut them down to various sizes. We will use a nifty little tape measure from my sewing stash to measure each piece. I think James is really going to like this activity!

I realized we haven't done much in the way of "organized" art lately. We made these shell collages last month and James has been spending TONS of time coloring and drawing me beautiful pictures. :)

That's it! These will last us the next few weeks easily. This week my niece is coming to stay with us for a couple of weeks and I know James will be happily preoccupied with her. :)

On a personal note, I'm feeling anxious about the upcoming school year. I don't know why exactly. Maybe it's because I haven't made any real plans as to how our school schedule will run. I've made up my mind that we're moving into true homeschooling mode, which means we'll be having schooltime everyday, just as James would if he were attending a school outside of home. I'm not at all worried about our curriculum since I have 100% faith in Montessori. I guess I just need to find some time to sit down and think about it all. :)

I'm linking up to two wonderful learning spots: Montessori Monday and The Preschool Corner.

~Thank you for your comments!~

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Bit of Knitting

Since learning to knit this past January, I've been busy creating a variety of small things until I work up the courage to attempt something like this or these. Anyway, seeing as a few of you have very sweetly inquired about my knitting adventures, I thought I'd share what I've been up to...
I made a cute *little* bowl (seriously, this thing is just big enough for a few pairs of earrings) using a bamboo/wool mix and a pattern I found in this book. This was my first time felting a knitted project and I was quite pleased with the results.

This little bird didn't turn out as well as I hoped, but it's fine enough for our nature table and James thinks it's cute. :) I still have to needle felt in the eyes. The yarn is a beautiful handspun wool which I purchased here on Etsy. You can find the easy to follow pattern here.

Here's something I am proud to share - a little drawstring pouch. The pattern can be found in this book. This came together very quickly (just a few hours, which is quick for me anyway!), but I must note that I fingerknitted the drawstrings instead of creating an i-cord. Everyone tells me i-cords are easy to make, but I just can't get the knack of it. I'll revisit it again another day. :)

I posted here about my newest hobby, spinning yarn, and decided to make another (larger) bowl with some of the fiber. It didn't turn out as well as I had hoped. Still very floppy despite my felting it. I think I needed to knit two strands together.

Lots of little fruits. I got the pattern from my favorite magazine's website, Living Crafts. The pattern itself was created by Nicole, of Frontier Dreams. I plan on making more of these so they can be used for counting, our sensory tubs and as tree ornaments.

I'm sharing the good and the bad with you and this hat definitely falls in the category of BAD. I had such high hopes for this hat! I made it for my darling husband and cast on several additional stitches to account for his large and lovable head :) but it ended up being waaaay too big - it's more like a beret! Also, this was my first attempt at creating a seed stitch, a thing which requires focus and concentration, a thing which I am not very good at.

This is my most recent project, my rainbow scarf. I LOVE it! It's super soft, super long (6.5 feet!) and just the right weight for Bermuda. I didn't follow a pattern for this, it's just straight garter stitch. I worked on it during the commute to and from Colorado and I think now it'll always remind me of that trip.

I'm getting a jump start on Christmas and so I'm currently working on a new and improved hat for my love. In this case I'm not even following a pattern (I know, how rebellious of me!) because I think hats are basic enough that you don't really need to. I've cast on a sensible number of stitches, created a bit of ribbing at the bottom and then I'm just going to knit the rest of the way. I should mention that I'm using my favorite go-to method, The Magic Loop. The yarn is Malabrigo, the softest, smooshiest and most economical wool I know of! The very manly colorway is SFO Sky.

Next on my "to make" list is a pair of socks for me (my first attempt!) and then it's on to making Christmas gifts for Paul and James.

Speaking of Christmas, I'm asking Santa if he'd be so kind as to bring me this. It's a wooden swift used for unwinding hanks of yarn into usable balls. For the moment, Paul has been very sweetly offering his hands while I wind my yarn. :)

I'd love to know what knitting adventures you've had lately - link back to your work in the comments or send me an email!

~Thank you for your comments!~


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